Reflections from Richard Ray, Communication Intern

August 21, 2012
by Richard Ray

Richard Ray spent the summer with us as a Communication Intern primarily working on SNAP (food stamp) efforts. As his internship comes to a close, we asked him to talk about his time with us.

Reflecting on my time at Feeding America, I am reminded of Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk and scholar. He once said, "Some of us, while looking at a piece of carrot, can see the whole cosmos in it, can see the sunshine in it, can see the earth in it. It has come from the whole cosmos for our nourishment." I like thinking of Feeding America like this, as a group of people who can stare at a carrot ponderously and see a bigger picture, an intricate tapestry of interconnectedness.

The efforts at Feeding America range from the micro level to the macro, to the mother in line at the food bank, to the laws on Capitol Hill. It is truly amazing to have witnessed the inner workings of such a noble cause. I think there is a very Zen-like quality to that objective, a simplicity that is massive. If you see someone who is hungry, feed them. When you do this, you're investing in their future, which is ultimately your future, because, well, we're all in it together.

Admittedly, it is not as simple as that, as we are not feeding just one person we see but instead we are feeding 37 million Americans, 14 million of whom are seniors and 3 million are children. These numbers are overwhelming, especially when considering that there is even more hunger out there. There are individuals who are not enrolled in programs or do not take advantage of assistance because of stigma, cultural, lingual, technological and geographical barriers. The whole thing can seem totally insurmountable. But, no one ever woke up and said, "I think I'll feed 37 million people today." Others, however, have acted on instincts of kindness, helping their neighbors and their community; I think that is the cornerstone of Feeding America. All of those individual acts of charity and human empathy build on one another until it is something huge, colossal, and most importantly: good.

I'm very proud to have been a part of Feeding America. The people I met here believe in transparency, accountability, and helping those that they serve. It has been an invaluable experience for me here and I will surely take it with me wherever I go.

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